Report: Braves look to package Chris Johnson with Justin Upton


The Atlanta Braves have been very active in recent days, reportedly bringing in another outfielder on a Major League contract before inking Alberto Callaspo to a deal as a stopgap at second base. However, the “big fish” is still very much available in the form of star outfielder Justin Upton, and one report indicates that Atlanta is attempting to package Upton with third baseman Chris Johnson in order to get out from under the final two years of his contract.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports interest in Upton on the part of the Giants, and while that is no surprise, the package part of the report certainly qualifies as a minor one. Chris Johnson, who is now 30 years old, had a highly disappointing performance in 2014, producing just a .263/.292/.361 slash line with 10 home runs and well below-average defense, but in the same breath, he was inked to a three-year contract just prior to the 2014 season, and that deal already appears to be an albatross on the franchise.

Because of the fact that John Hart and his regime did not sign Johnson to that contract, it makes some sense that the Atlanta Braves would be looking to emerge from it unscathed. However, previous attempts (at least reportedly) to package Justin Upton or Evan Gattis with another contract problem in B.J. Upton have proved to be unsuccessful, and if the Braves are intent on unloading bad contracts, the actual talent coming back to Atlanta in any trade would be greatly diminished.

There is no question at this point that much of the roster is up for grabs, highlighted by Justin Upton, but with no in-house option to replace Chris Johnson at third base should he be moved, any deal that involves his departure would likely need a follow-up to plug that hole. Stay tuned.